Better Roads Staff
The Chamber’s Agenda
An action plan for growth in 2012
As we begin 2012, American business is “improving,” says Tom Donohue president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
”But it is doing so weakly, slowly, and insufficiently to put our nation back to work,” he says. To lower unemployment, the U.S. economy has to grow much faster than it is today, he says. “Unfortunately, we think the economy will actually slow down in the early months of the year. We expect growth to average about 2.5 percent in the first half and then work its way back to about 3 percent by the end of the year.”
Ominously, a new chamber survey of small business members found more than 80 percent are “very concerned” about the prospect of new regulations, mandates and higher taxes, and these concerns have put the brakes on new hiring, he says.
“2012 must not be a wasted year simply because it is an election year. There’s no justifiable reason why it should be.”
– Tom Donohue
The chamber is putting forward its American Jobs and Growth Agenda, “to put people back to work without raising taxes or adding to the deficit.” Highlights include:
Rebuilding the Infrastructure
SAFETEA-LU expires again on March. If Congress doesn’t act, says Donohue, the Highway Trust Fund would be cut a minimum of 35 percent by this fall, putting thousands out of work. “And let me make this clear — every piece of infrastructure legislation should include reforms to speed up projects and encourage public-private partnerships and the use of private capital. In fact, by knocking down the barriers, we can unlock up to $250 billion in private capital for infrastructure. Leverage this with public investments, and we could create 1.9 million jobs over 10 years.”
Producing American Energy
“Our nation is on the cusp of an energy boom that is already creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, revitalizing entire communities and reinvigorating American manufacturing,” says Donohue. “Energy is a game changer for the United States,” he says. “With the right policies, the oil and natural gas industry could create more than 1 million jobs by 2018.”